Years ago, the former Danity Kane and Diddy-Dirty Money member Dawn Richard broke away from the major-label world and started releasing oblique, experimental space-pop records on her own — sometimes under her own name sometimes as D∆WN. She’s now just calling herself DAWN, and next week, she’ll release a truly excellent new solo album called new breed.
In its cover art and interludes new breed calls back to Richard’s upbringing in the Washitaw Nation, the black New Orleans tribe that claims Native American sovereignty and upholds its own traditions. There’s plenty of childhood nostalgia on the record, but there’s also a whole lot of forward-looking vision. The record’s production is just stunning, and Richard draws on spaced-out dance music, rap, R&B, New Orleans bounce, ’70s funk, and right-now pop music, among plenty of other things. And again and again, she flexes her unique power to combine thoughtful introspection with slinky, insinuating hooks.
We’ve already posted the early tracks “New Breed” and “Sauce.” But the whole album really deserves to be heard. It’s short — just half an hour — but it covers a whole lot of ground. And since it’s now streaming online, you can now hear it for yourself. Check it out at NPR.
new breed is out 1/25 on Local Action Records. Pre-order it here.